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Some Surface Hub and HoloLens team members depart Microsoft for new perceptiveIO startup

A small number of Microsoft employees, including the head of its Surface Hub team and some people from its HoloLens division, have left the company to form a new San Francisco-based start-up called perceptiveIO.

The new company was formed quietly in May (via WalkingCat on Twitter) and was co-founded by Jeff Han, who also created Perceptive Pixel, which made massive touchscreen PCs. Microsoft acquired Perceptive Pixel in 2012 and Han stayed on to lead the development of the successor to his big touchscreen PCs, the Surface Hub, which began shipping to customers earlier in 2016. It's unknown how Han's departure from Microsoft will affect the Surface Hub division.

The other co-founder of perceptiveIO is Shahram Izadi, who worked on the HoloLens team. Izadi gained some fame earlier this year when he was the subject of a video demoing "Holoportation", a way to use the HoloLens to view a full 3D holographic video of a person for both real-time and recorded chats.

The LinkedIn page for perceptiveIO (opens in new tab) shows eight former Microsoft team members that are now part of this startup. Exactly what these folks are working on is a mystery, but its website says that it is hiring people to help "build user experiences that radically shift the way people can interact with computers". It adds:

We are looking for talented scientists, engineers, and designers at all levels of seniority to work on bleeding-edge research and products at the intersection of real-time computer vision, applied machine learning, novel displays, sensing, and human-computer interaction. Working at perceptiveIO you will take theory to practice designing, implementing, evaluating, and shipping cutting-edge perceptive systems.

50 Comments
  • That headline is misleading. I suggest adding "Some" in front.
  • I seriously believe that MS is secretly behind these spinoffs (for what reason I don't know) and, just to buy these companies, and their employees "back"... I haven't a clue why they would do that, if it's true, but maybe so that specific projects won't appear to impact, or draw attention to share holders?? IDK. Just a theory of mine.
  • Rodney, stop hijacking the first comment. :P Posted from Bikini Bottom via my Pineapple PineBook XPS 13"
  • Guilty as charged, but,,,,!
  • What the..
  • It is treason! Off with their heads!!
  • Microsoft is going to sink......
  • Because they lost 8 people out of their dozens of thousands? -Vigor
  • What if they are the core members of the development part?
  • Big companies have cross training and document the technical know how for all products. They're replaceable believe me
  • Thank you for your kind reply
  • They are replaceable just like anyone else Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
    on My surface phone
  • If one of them is someone like Tony Stark, then yeah, it means a lot. It's like AMD losing Jim Keller. Nah, I'm just playing. MS isn't really in the business of manufacturing anyway so it's not something that would come back to haunt them. If anything, MS found themselves a new partner to do business with.
  • If one of them is someone like Tony Stark, then yeah, it means a lot. It's like AMD losing Jim Keller. Nah, I'm just playing. MS isn't really in the business of manufacturing anyway so it's not something that would come back to haunt them.
  • Huh? This is exactly what they want. Introduce new product ideas and let third parties run with them and see what they can come up with. Especially with something as new as AR/VR, startups are way more able to push the envelope since they don't have share holders breathing down their backs expecting unreasonable quarterly returns. Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • You've probably never worked in a big company before. This happens all the time. People leave, even excellent people. But make no mistake though - no one is irreplaceable. Yes individuals have unique talents and perspectives etc. but never make the mistake of thinking you can never be replaced. There will always be someone else, maybe not exactly with your abilities, but with his/her own unique abilities which are just as valuable (or may turn out to be even more valuable). That's why the world keeps moving despite people passing away everyday!
  • Lol I've never had a job. Lumia 928 on build 10586.338
  • I'm in Jamaica u know lol
  • I get what you're saying though. I hope it doesn't affect Microsoft that much
  • I would apply for a job there...
  • Yeah sign me up
  • I don't understand. Why would I leave my job with a sure income to go start a business in an already saturated industry such as technology? Is it that Microsoft secretly treats it's employees badly?
  • Some people feel like doing their own thing. Maybe Microsoft turned down some of their ideas, which is their prerogative (in a financial and economic sense), or maybe they think that their future goals don't align with Microsoft's etc. Just because people leave a company doesn't mean that the company treats its employees badly.
  • Oh, ok. Lumia 928 on build 10586.338
  • Not all people are happy to live with a boring sure income...in particular this people that do a creative job!
  • I'm pretty sure these guys are not exactly driven by income alone, at least not at the level of just the next month's paycheque. Sometimes you just need some room or freedom to experiment and do your own thing, which may not be available in a typical structured workplace, even at MS. I know of so many PhD colleagues that left very high paying jobs in industry to become university profs simply because they wanted some freedom to experiment and explore ideas in a research group, which only a university can easily provide without the constant pressure of profit and meeting the bottomline, while still paying fairly decently (even if it is lower than their industry pay). At some point, money just isn't as important as it was when you were at the bottom of the food chain lol!
  • Lol I see. I guess I never really understood, because here in Jamaica money is such a necessity, because it's kinda scarce. Lumia 928 on build 10586.338
  • I've launched my own company instead of being beholden to anothers own agenda. There are numerous benefits of running your own business but most of all you get to dictate what hours you work and what contracts you do. For some this is far more rewarding than being another brick in the wall. In life nothing is guaranteed not even your job, it's just a question of what risks you want to take.
  • Usually people who join the start up get a percentage share of the company as it's running without profit initially.  Then when they score a huge technological advancement, they get bought back by Microsoft, get instated with better positions and cash out a million or so each.  Or the company goes backrupt.  One of the two.  So it can be lucrative.
  • Because that's virtually the only way to have the potential to make something big, sell it for lots and lots of money, and be set for life early. If you work for someone else you will only work for someone else, relying on some stable but little income, until you are too old or sick to work.
  • It's the American way -- entrepreneurship is why we are such a financially stable nation. If you have a good idea and the ability to get it done, you strike out on your own, build a business (maybe taking investor money if you need it and can convince investors that investing in you will make them more money), and make it happen. Along the way, if you are successful, you create jobs, help your customers, and get rich in the process. Of course, many of these fail, but the reward is huge for those that succeed. Capitalism -- helping the world since mankind created currency.
  • Lol really? If I had that guys skills, resume, and connections, I'd be self employed too. I don't understand why you would waste that goldmine of talent.
  • Well, MSN News, MSN Weather and MSN Money have left my Surface 2 .... so everyone and everything is leaving....
  • Doesn't really say if these are key figures or janitors. If I missed it in the article, sorry. But don't know if there is any way to judge this yet.
  • Yes, you did miss it. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I don't think the guy behind the Surface Hub was a janitor. -- Lumia 640 (Windows 10)
  • Well looks like Panos will made the uniquely and extraordinary new Surface Hub. :grim:
  • Exactly what these folks are working on is a mystery, but its website says that it is hiring people to help "build user experiences that radically shift the way people can interact with computers". I bet Google paid them millions secretly to quit. Now, just watch Google getting all the Hololens secrets from this new company they covertly own.  
  • First of all, a public company can't "secretly" pay millions of dollars to buy out other company employees , shareholders and the SEC would have issues with such. Assuming was possible, it would be just as likely Microsoft would buy them out and "secretly" fund the company in order to by pass shareholder scrutiny of a new unproven tech, with unknown future revenue. Or, as is most likely the case, some very brilliant, creative folks see a potential gold mine and want to have free reign to develop their vision their way not Microsofts way. Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • Actually, it happens all the time. Microsoft did it to Borland International, nabbing up Anders Hejlsberg among others. In the end, there was legal action, damages were paid, and the new employees went on to create small little projects like .NET. You might have heard of it.
  • lol, they saw an opportunity and left to start up something that will probably be bought by MS down the road, some of the doom n gloom comments are hilarious :D
  • True, I have a friend who worked at Microsoft as an intern. Apparently, it's common for employees leave to create their own startup and return when Microsoft buys the startup. People at MS joke about it and say "see you in one to two years" to the employee leaving for creating their new company.
  • Xbox will be next. Better do it fast while it still have some users.
  • Still have some users? You must live under a rock.
  • Lets not forget the patents Microsoft owns because of the purchase and there own development. The new company will have to come up with something completely different, which would be good for consumers. Innovation is king!
  • Surface Hub, months late, and a dumbed down version of W10. So, MSFT having fired the lot is indeed a very real possibility.
  • The other side of the coin is that if Microsoft can prove that core elements of their proprietary product were developed while MS employees, Microsoft can sue and reclaim this technology as i am sure there were bulletproof NDA's, and other terms stating that ideas conceived are the property of MS.
  • Should I buy their stocks?
  • When in India?
  • Is it possible that Microsoft buys it when enough progress is made?